FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What Is A Home Inspection?

A home inspection is a visual examination of the home’s major structure, systems and
components that are visible and safely accessible.  The inspector should substantially
adhere to TREC standards of practice that outlines what should be covered during a
general home inspection, as well as what is excluded. Some inspectors may strictly
follow the standards of practice, while others may exceed the standards and inspect
other items. Whatever the inspector includes in his or her inspection should be
discussed prior to the inspection – this is known as the scope of work. The inspector
should provide you with a written report, which may include photos and/or
recommendations, of his or her findings of the inspection.

Why Should I Get A Home Inspection?

Buying a home is typically the biggest investment you will ever make, so it’s important to get a home inspection because the inspector should be able to discover and document defects that may or may not be obvious to you as a prospective buyer.  Such defects can range from simple replacements or repairs, to severe damage or safety and health concerns. Additionally, most mortgage companies require a home inspection on a property before approving the home loan.

  • Some sellers – often, those working without an agent – want to sell their home “as is” so they don’t have to invest money fixing it up or take on any potential liability for defects.  There is nothing wrong with buying a home “as is,” particularly if you can buy it at a favorable price, but if you are considering buying an “as is” home, you should still hire a competent home inspector to perform an inspection.
How Can I Be Sure A Home Inspector Is Qualified?

It is important to choose a home inspector who is qualified and holds a license or certification in the field. Many jurisdictions do not regulate home inspections, meaning that anyone could call themselves a home inspector. However, just because someone performs home inspections doesn’t mean that they’re actually qualified to do so. If you are buying or selling a home in an unregulated jurisdiction, make sure to look for a home inspector with the proper certifications. If you are located in a state or province that does require licensing of home inspectors, you should hire only a licensed professional. More information can be provided at www.trec.gov.

How Much Does A Home Inspection Cost?

There is no set cost for a home inspection. The cost will vary based on the inspector, the local market, the geographic region, the scope of the inspection to be performed, size and age of dwelling and more. Before the inspection, you should find out what will be included in the inspection and what won’t, and these details should also be outlined in the inspection agreement that you will need to sign prior to the inspection.

How Long Does A Home Inspection Take?

Depending on the home’s age, size, and location, as well as the home inspector’s own work protocols and ethic, your home inspection may take two to three hours. Adding square footage, outbuildings, and/or ancillary services (such as septic or irrigation) will increase that time. It may be necessary for your inspector to bring in a helper for a very large property. If your general home inspection takes significantly less than two to three hours, it may indicate that the inspector was not thorough enough.

When I Should I Schedule A Home Inspection?

A home inspection is usually scheduled after an offer has been made and accepted (signed or executed contract), but before the closing date. That way, the inspector can rule out any major defects that could be dangerous or costly. It is advised to schedule in enough time so that any defects that are written up by the inspector can be professionally evaluated and bids on the repairs can be reviewed. In rare cases—due to timing or contractual issues—the inspection can be scheduled after the closing date. If this is the case, the home buyer should schedule the inspection for the earliest possible date after closing.

Should I Be Present For The Inspection?

You should attend the inspection. You can learn a lot by being present either at the beginning or towards the end of the inspection. You will certainly gain a better understanding of the home’s condition, which will give you insight into its potential sale points and defects. Additionally, you will likely learn information about the home’s maintenance, systems and components that may provide useful for the transaction.

Can The Home Inspector Also Repair Any Defects He/She Finds?

The first answer is No. What if your home inspector is also a licensed contractor? Sounds great, right? Not always. Although it may seem convenient to have an inspector who is also a contractor, it poses a conflict of interest. According to TREC and is not allowed.

What Happens If The Inspection Reveals Problems?

If your home inspection reveals any problems, it is important to understand the severity of the defect. For example, a missing shingle or dirty air filter can be easily fixed at a low cost. However, if the defect is more extreme, such as a major foundation crack, wood-destroying organism infestation, you should find out how these problems can be addressed, and whether you can negotiate their cost with the seller and have them addressed by a Professional Licensed Company.

What Is Inspected In A Home Inspection?

In general, a home inspection involves visually checking the home’s interior and exterior structure, roof, electrical system, plumbing, HVAC system, and foundation. An inspector then will write a report recommending improvements and repairs needed to make the sure home meets current standards.